"When dawn spreads its paintbrush on the plain, spilling purple... ," Songs of the Pioneers song from TV show "Wagon Train." Dawn on the mythic Santa Fe Trail, New Mexico, looking toward Raton from Cimarron. -- Clarkphoto. A curmudgeon's old-fashioned newspaper column, cross-breeding watercolor, metaphors and journalism, for readers in more than 150 countries.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Back-tracking on the "wrong" track for 45 years

Neruda: "Is there anything sadder than a train in the rain?"
Americans apparently like being in the dumps, or blue, as my small watercolor from Pablo Neruda's poem suggests.
We think the country has been "on the wrong track" for almost a half century, apparently, including now.
Let's "backtrack" some.
That dissatisfaction fueled the Democrat's mid-term election "whuppings" of George Bush and the Republicans' of Obama.
Warning...I spent almost as much time searching my photos for appropriate train photos as I did writing. Hey, I like trains.
This "old one" is rusting  and abandoned on an old track at Skagway, Alaska, but perhaps that is the right track for old ones like me.
So what is the history of the country being on the "wrong track"?
Since 1972, polls have found most Americans have thought the country is on the "wrong track." Some pollster reported asked in 1971: " “Do you feel that things in this country are generally going in the right direction today, or do you feel that things have pretty seriously gotten off on the wrong track?”
Keep in mind that was in the middle of the Vietnam War, inflation was climbing, unemployment was up. Source, the Daily Beast: Wrong track. 
In fact, polls show that Americans have rarely thought we're on the right track. When did we derail and hit the ditch?--Eight years ago, in the fall of 2008, when the economy imploded. Per Gallup, between September through about November 2008, only 7 to 9 percent of the country thought the country was in the right direction. 
What were the highest points in the past 45 years? Three times--(Gallup polls)
In Reagan's second term it bounded to  60 percent on the right track. It soon dropped  to under 50 percent; during Clinton's impeachment, the economy was great and 71 percent thought the country was on the right track; and after 9/11, it soared, but seven  months later it dropped to 60 percent thinking we were on the "wrong track."
My conclusion, (opinion), Americans are fickle, short-sighted, spoiled, and whiners.
Canada in the background as the locomotives switch ends on the right track.
Getting on the right track politically is a matter of many opinions. But not in railroads. At the White Pass and Yukon railroad between Alaska and Canada, they take you up to the pass made famous in the Gold Rush, and the locomotives park you just inside Yukon Territory, Canada on a siding. They then move around and attach to the other end of the train for the trip back to Skagway. There's always a "right" track. So simple, in railroad operation if not democracy. 

Next--more tracks.

1 comment:

  1. You got that right. Americans, and I suspect everybody, are very short sighted. I remember an International Business Professor at OCU who said, America is still the envy of the world.